Appraising Arizona
The experts examine the state's new immigration law.


In Arizona, most voters favor a welcoming immigration policy and also favor the new law signed by Governor Brewer. And, as is the case all across the country, those who are angry about immigration are not angry at immigrants. By a margin of 85 percent to 10 percent, they are angry at the federal government.

Scott Rasmussen is the author of In Search of Self-Governance.

While Arizona’s new law is a step of some kind, it is not clear in which direction. It has many commendable features, particularly the stiffening of penalties for those convicted of trafficking in human beings. In fact, Congress should probably enact legislation that makes the “ultimate penalty” an option for those found to be trafficking kingpins.

There should also be hearings, GOP-only if necessary, to investigate how the federal government failed to prevent the near-total breakdown of the integrity of the U.S. border with Mexico. This would do a lot to explain to the nation why states such as Arizona have been forced to act in their own interests.

Going back into this debate, the Republicans must understand that the liberals in charge in Washington want the issue but not the answers. They want to divide the GOP coalition, which is firing on all cylinders at the moment, before the 2010 elections. Eschew the so-called “comprehensive approach to immigration reform.” Avoid being sucked into any kind of compromise that includes a de facto amnesty, which the Democrats will surely propose in order to expand their voter base. Focus instead on the real problem: a porous border that threatens national security and the public safety, the protection of which is the primary responsibility of government.

Peter Roff is a senior fellow at the Institute for Liberty and contributing editor at U.S. News & World Report.